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Glossary of cricket

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Fielding positions in cricket.

This is a glossary of terms used in the sport of cricket. It is by no means exhaustive and assumes that the reader has at least a basic knowledge of the game. Newcomers should read the main subject article first. Many of the entries describe fielding positions which, for ease of understanding, should be found in the schematic diagram displayed right (see also Fielding).

NB: many terms used in cricket are commonplace to the point that knowledge of them is taken for granted by cricket writers, including those who are trying to explain the inner workings of the game. It is not, therefore, practical or even possible to cite sources for all of the entries in this glossary. Any queries should be raised on the talk page for explanation or discussion.

Contents

A

Across the line

Go to Cross-bat.

All out

Ten members of the batting team have been dismissed (one man remains not out) and the innings terminates at that point.[1]

All-rounder

A player who is proficient in both batting and bowling.[2]

The majority of players are specialists in one discipline. The all-rounder typically bats in the middle of the batting order. Depending on whether he has greater utility in one skill than the other, he may be termed a batting all-rounder or a bowling all-rounder. Some players with equal utility are considered genuine all-rounders. There have been many famous all-rounders including W. G. Grace, Gary Sobers, Wilfred Rhodes, Keith Miller and Richard Hadlee.

Amateur

While the word suggests someone who plays for fun in his spare time, for over 200 years the amateur in English cricket was a specific type of full-time player who theoretically played only for his out-of-pocket expenses such as travel and accommodation. In reality, there was considerable abuse of the principle, especially by the Grace brothers, and the term shamateur was coined. It was said of W. G. Grace that he made more money out of cricket than any professional.

In the Gentlemen v Players match, the Gentlemen were amateurs and the Players were professionals. There was an unabashed social class distinction in this and amateurism, along with the fixture, was finally abolished in 1962. All first-class players are now professional and the word amateur is applied to weekend players only.[2]

Analysis

A statistical summary of a bowler's performance in an innings. If he bowled twelve overs with three maidens and took four wickets for 27 runs, it is recorded as 12–3–27–4 in scorecards.[2]

Appeal

Most usually associated with the Owzat! call to the umpire which is made by the bowler and other fielders when they believe the batsman should be given out. In fact, it is a request by any player to an umpire for a decision on anything that may affect play: for example, an appeal by a batsman for play to be suspended because of poor light.[2]

Arm ball

Also called going with the arm. Usually relates to a spin bowler who, instead of spinning the ball, delivers it straight so that there is no deviation after pitching. The tactic is a deceptive move by the bowler to entice the batsman into making a mistake. It is so-called because the ball goes in the direction of the arm as a continuation of the bowler's follow-through.[3][4]

"Ashes"

The "Ashes" is the name given to the prize at stake in any Test series between Australia and England. After Australia defeated England in 1882, the Sporting Times newspaper printed a mock obituary lamenting the death of English cricket and including the message that "the body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia". In the next Australian season, England captain Ivo Bligh said he was going to "recover those ashes" and, after his team won the deciding match, some ladies burned a bail and presented its ashes to him in a small urn that Bligh eventually bequeathed to MCC. It is in the museum at Lord's and is the supposed trophy for which Australia and England always play (there is now a replica trophy which is presented to the winning captain for publicity purposes).[2]

Asking rate

In a run-chase situation, especially the closing stages of a limited overs match, the runs per over needed by the side batting last to achieve their target and win the match.[3]

Attacking field

The majority of the fielders are in close catching positions leaving the infield and outfield areas largely undefended.

Averages

Batting average is the mean number of runs scored by a batsman per innings and is calculated by dividing his total number of runs scored by the number of completed (excluding not out) innings he has played through the period under consideration (e.g., series, season, career). Bowling average is the mean cost of runs conceded by a bowler per wicket taken and is calculated by dividing the total runs conceded by the number of wickets taken, again by period.[2]

Away-swinger

Go to Out-swinger.

B

Back foot

When the batsman takes guard, his back foot is the one nearest the stumps.

When bowling the ball, the bowler's back foot in his delivery stride must land within the two return creases while his front foot must land on or behind the popping crease. If he breaks this rule, the umpire calls "no ball".

Back foot drive

A drive shot played off the back foot. Driving is normally a front foot shot but a skilled batsman can play the drive equally well after stepping back. Gary Sobers was an outstanding exponent.

Back foot play

The batsman transfers weight onto his back foot in order to play his shot. Generally, he will move backwards if the ball is pitching short of or longer than a good length. There are a range of back foot shots including back foot drive, backward defensive stroke, hook, leg glance, pull and square cut.

Back spin

An under-spin of the ball by the bowler who wants it to come more slowly off the pitch.[2]

Backing up

Can refer to a fielder who supports one of his colleagues, usually by getting into position to prevent an overthrow. It also refers to the non-striker moving forward from his territory as the bowler delivers the ball so that he effectively shortens the distance he will have to run, if necessary.[2]

Backlift

The batsman on guard raises his bat backwards (the "backlift") towards the stumps as the bowler approaches, so that he is ready to play a shot.

Backward point

Refer to fielding positions diagram and to Fielding.

An infield position that is behind square and to the left of the umpire at the bowler's end. It is opposite backward square leg and between point and short third man.

Backward square leg

Refer to fielding positions diagram and to Fielding.

An infield position that is behind square and to the right of the umpire at the bowler's end. It is opposite backward point and between square leg and short fine leg.

Bad light stopped play

If the daylight dims, the batsmen can appeal to the umpires for a stoppage in play because they cannot see the ball well enough. If the umpires agree, they will suspend play for safety reasons until the light improves.

Baggy green

Nickname of the cap worn by members of the Australian team in international cricket. The cap was introduced in the 1890s and it has a distinctively "baggy" shape in typical late-Victorian style. Its colour is myrtle green. The baggy green cap is an iconic symbol in Australia, akin to the red and white roses of Lancashire and Yorkshire.

Bail

There are two bails on each wicket, laid horizontally along the top. They must not project more than half an inch above the top of the stumps and so the maximum height of the wicket is 28.5 inches.[2]

Ball

The casing is made of hand-stitched leather built around a cork interior wound with twine. As such, it is rock-hard and a very dangerous projectile. In men's cricket, it weighs 5.5 ounces; in women's cricket, 5 ounces. The circumference is nine inches. Balls are dyed red for first-class and club cricket, white for limited overs.[2][3]

Ball tampering

An illegal action which seeks to change the condition of the ball by artificial means. No substance other than sweat or saliva may be applied to the ball. Deliberate scuffing of the surface and attempting to raise the seam of the ball are banned.[3]

Barracking

Loud disparaging comments by spectators who are dissatisfied with the play, such as when a fielder drops a catch or when a batsmen is thought to be playing too defensively.[2]

Bat

The blade is made of willow and must not exceed 4.25 inches in width. The handle is made of cane layered with thin strips of rubber and bound with twine. The whole handle is encased in a rubber sheath. The maximum length of the whole bat is 38 inches. There is no actual weight limit but they tend to weigh two to three pounds, though some players like Clive Lloyd have favoured a heavy bat weighing four pounds.[5]

Bat-pad

Means that the ball has struck both bat and pad. If a fielder catches it on the full, it is called a bat-pad catch.[3]

Batsman

Go to Batting.

Batting

Two members of the batting team are on the pitch when play is in progress and are called the batsmen. The one facing the bowler is called the striker and his colleague at the bowler's end is the non-striker. Batsmen are classified by hand so "RHB" means right-handed batsman and "LHB" means left-handed batsman.

Batting average

Go to Average.

Batting gloves

Tight fitting leather or fabric gloves which are strongly padded at the back, traditionally with tubular rubber. They are an essential item of protective gear worn by the batsman.[5]

Batting order

The team captain decides, before the match begins, the order in which his team members will bat from one to eleven. The specialist batsmen invariably occupy the first five or six positions. The order is announced before start of play but it is not fixed and the captain can change it at any time.

Beach cricket

As it says, a fun way of spending a day on the beach.

Beamer

An illegal fast delivery which does not bounce and, if it goes close to the batsman's head, is considered very dangerous. It is banned by Law 41[6] and the umpire must call it a no ball under Law 21.[7]

Behind square

Refer to fielding positions diagram and to Fielding.

Basically, any fielding position in the diagram which is above a line drawn from deep point through the striker's popping crease to deep square leg. The area includes the point, fine and leg sectors of the field.

Block

Any defensive shot which is designed to abruptly halt the ball's progress.

Blockhole

Basically, the place where the batsman's feet and bat are positioned as he is taking guard and awaiting delivery of the ball. If the bowler delivers a yorker, it is sometimes said that he has bowled the ball "into the blockhole".

Bodyline

Also known as leg theory, a controversial and now illegal tactic utilised by England captain Douglas Jardine in the 1932–33 Test series in Australia. It involved the bowler aiming at the batsman's body so that he would use the bat awkwardly to defend himself and potentially give a catch to a ring of close fielders on the leg side.[3]

Bosie

The Australian term for the googly, named after the delivery's originator, B. J. T. Bosanquet. It is an off-break bowled with a leg-break action.[5]

Bottom hand

Refers to the batsman's grip of the bat handle, so his bottom hand is the lower one closest to the blade of the bat. If he makes too much use of his bottom hand when making his stroke, the ball will tend to be hit upwards and he is likely to be caught. The batsman's bottom hand is his natural one, right or left.

Bouncer

Also called a bumper, this is a short-pitched fast delivery which reaches the batsman chest- or head-high. It is intended to discomfit him so that he either takes evasive action or plays a risky cross-bat shot like the hook.[5]

Boundary

The perimeter of the playing area, often marked out by a rope laid along the ground. A shot for four runs is often called a boundary.[5]

Bowl-out

A tie-break method that has been used in some limited overs matches, akin to the penalty shootout in football. Players from each team take turns to bowl at undefended wickets and the team with the most "hits" is the winner.

Bowled

A common means of dismissal; the bowler has hit the wicket with the ball and the wicket has broken with at least one bail being dislodged (if the ball hits the wicket without dislodging a bail it is not out).

Bowled around his legs

The batsman has been bowled by a delivery that pitched on the legside and turned sharply to off after it has gone behind his legs to hit the wicket. Top-class leg spinners like Richie Benaud and Shane Warne took a lot of wickets in this way.

Bowling

For more information, see: Bowling (cricket).

To bowl means to propel the ball fairly at the bowler's target, which is the wicket at the other end of the pitch. In short, bowling is done by the bowler who bowls the ball at the batsman's wicket.[5]

Bowling analysis

Go to Analysis.

Bowling average

Go to Average.

Bowling crease

Now a misnomer as it is no longer anything to do with bowling. It is the back edge of the crease marking and the line marking the end of the pitch. It must be 8 foot 8 inches long.[8]

Box

Item of protective gear held in place by a jockstrap and worn inside the batsman's trousers to protect the genitals.[5]

Break

Any deviation of the ball from a straight course immediately after pitching, most commonly caused by spin.[5]

Bumper

Go to Bouncer.

Bye

Extra(s) awarded if the batsman misses the ball and it goes past the wicket-keeper to give the batsmen time to run in the conventional way (the mark of a good wicket-keeper is his ability to restrict the total of byes to a minimum).[5] First recorded in the 1770s.[3]

C

Call

This has three usages:[5]

  1. A batsman's call to his partner to attempt a run.
  2. A call by the fielding side to nominate who should attempt a catch (in case two fielders collide and miss the chance).
  3. The umpire's call of no ball.

Cap

Traditionally the cricketer's headgear but it is rarely worn by batsmen since safety helmets were introduced.[5]

Captain

The team leader who is responsible for tactical decisions. Usually the team's most experienced player.

Carrom ball

A spin bowler holds the ball between his thumb and middle finger which he twists to create the spin.

Carrying the bat

An opening batsman is said to have carried his bat if he remains the not out batsmen when his team is all out.[5]

Caught

A catch is a common means of dismissal. The batsman has hit the ball with his bat, or with his hand, and the ball has been caught on the full by a member of the fielding side.

Caught and bowled

A catch has been held by the bowler and is recorded on the scorecard as "c & b".

Caught behind

A catch has been held by the wicket-keeper.

Century

Colloquial term for a score of 100 or more. 50 is called a half-century; 200 a double-century; 300 a triple-century.[5] A batsman who scores a century is sometimes referred to as a "centurion".

Change bowler

Generally, a new bowler being introduced into the attack. More specifically, the term is used in reference to a certain player, who may be an occasional bowler, asked to bowl a short spell for tactical reasons.[5]

Charge

The batsman jumps forward from his stance in order to meet the ball as it pitches and play an attacking shot, usually a drive. Commentators often say he is "charging the bowler".

Cherry

Slang for the red ball.

Chest-on

Describes a bowler who delivers the ball with his chest facing the batsman, as opposed to being side on.[3]

Chinaman

Go to Slow left-arm chinaman (SLC).

Chucker

A bowler whose action amounts to a throw and so breaches Law 21.2 – Fair delivery.[5][7]

Circle

In some limited overs games, a painted circle on the field marks the limit of the infield at a radius of thirty yards from the centre of the pitch. Its purpose is to assist the umpires when fielding restrictions are in force, as in a powerplay.

Clean bowled

Colloquial term for when the batsman has been bowled out after making no contact with the ball.

Closing the face

Turning the face of the bat inwards so that the ball is deflected from the off side to the leg side.[3]

Cordon

Go to Slip.

Corridor of uncertainty

A somewhat fanciful and rather meaningless phrase enjoyed by certain commentators to describe the narrow line of flight on or just outside a batsman's off stump in which the bowler will sometimes pitch the ball. In fact, bowlers have always had the tactic in their repertoires. The batsman receiving this type of delivery must judge if it will hit the off stump or pass just outside it and go through to the wicket-keeper. If he thinks it may hit the stump, he needs to play a shot but if the ball is either swinging or spinning away from him, the shot needs to be timed right or he may edge the ball to the wicket-keeper or one of the slip fielders and be caught. If he thinks that it will miss the off stump, he may decide to leave it and let it go through but the risk there is that he might have misjudged the flight and it hits the off stump.[3]

County cricket

Top-class domestic cricket in England and Wales is played by teams representing county clubs.

Cover (equipment)

A long, low bogie with a dome-shaped upper section to which drainage hoses are attached. It is wheeled on to the field by the ground staff to cover and protect the pitch when rain begins and play is suspended. Also called a "pitch cover" or a "mobile rain cover".

Cover (specific fielding position)

Refer to fielding positions diagram and to Fielding.

Cover (sometimes called cover point) is specifically an infield position that is forward of square and to the left of the umpire at the bowler's end. It is also, technically though in plural, a sector of the field between point and off (see below). It is opposite mid wicket.

Covers (sector of field)

Refer to fielding positions diagram and to Fielding.

Generally referred to as the covers (plural) though cover per se is a specific infield position (see above). The covers are a sector of the field forward of square which is to the left of the umpire at the bowler's end and within 45° of square from the striker's wicket. In the diagram, the sector is delimited by a line drawn from the striker's wicket to deep point, and by another line drawn from the striker's wicket to deep extra cover.

Cow corner

Refer to fielding positions diagram and to Fielding.

An outfield position that is forward of square and to the right of the umpire at the bowler's end. It is opposite deep extra cover and between deep mid wicket and long on. This a curious term that is thought to have originated at Dulwich College where that corner of their cricket field abutted onto a field containing livestock. Anyone sent to field there was "dispatched to the cow corner".[3]

Creases

The bowling crease, the popping crease and the two return creases are marked by white lines at each end of the pitch.[8]

Cricket season

The months of the year in which cricket is played in a given country. In Europe, Australasia and southern Africa, the season is through the spring and summer months when daylight is longer. Conversely, in the Caribbean and the Indian sub-continent, the season is during the autumn and winter months in order to avoid climate extremes in the shape of excessive heat, hurricanes and monsoons.

Cricketana

A collective noun that embraces all manner of cricket-related collectibles.[5]

Cross-bat

Basically, any shot played across the line of flight so that the ball is hit to the leg or on side of the field. Examples are the hook, pull and sweep shots.[3]

Cut

An attacking shot frequently played by batsmen against a short-pitched ball outside the off stump. With the bat held horizontally, the ball is hit towards the off side boundary either square (through the covers) or late (through the slips).[5]

D

Dead ball

Covered by Law 20 – Dead Ball. It essentially means that the ball is out of play and no runs can be scored and no dismissal can be effected. The key situation is the return of the ball to either the bowler or wicket-keeper after a shot has been played, whether runs have been scored or not, as that suspends play temporarily pending the next delivery.[9][10]

Dead rubber

The final match of a Test series which has already been decided in one team's favour.

Declaration

Covered by Law 15 – Declaration and Forfeiture. A declaration is a tactical decision by the batting team's captain to "declare" the innings closed while the team still has wickets in hand. His purpose is to give his bowlers more time in which to dismiss the opposition but he needs to be assured that he has sufficient runs in hand and that the opposition are unlikely to overhaul his team's lead.[9][11]

Deep backward point

Refer to fielding positions diagram and to Fielding.

An outfield position that is behind square and to the left of the umpire at the bowler's end. It is opposite long leg and between third man and deep point.

Deep cover

Refer to fielding positions diagram and to Fielding.

An outfield position that is forward of square and to the left of the umpire at the bowler's end. It is opposite deep mid wicket and between deep point and deep extra cover.

Deep extra cover

Refer to fielding positions diagram and to Fielding.

An outfield position that is forward of square and to the left of the umpire at the bowler's end. It is opposite cow corner and between deep cover and long off.

Deep fine leg

Refer to fielding positions diagram and to Fielding.

An outfield position that is fine and to the right of the umpire at the bowler's end. It is opposite third man and between long stop and long leg.

Deep mid wicket

Refer to fielding positions diagram and to Fielding.

An outfield position that is forward of square and to the right of the umpire at the bowler's end. It is opposite deep cover and between deep square leg and cow corner.

Deep point

Refer to fielding positions diagram and to Fielding.

An outfield position that is square and to the left of the umpire at the bowler's end. It is opposite deep square leg and between deep cover and deep backward point.

Deep square leg

Refer to fielding positions diagram and to Fielding.

An outfield position that is square and to the right of the umpire at the bowler's end. It is opposite deep point and between long leg and deep mid wicket.

Defensive field

The majority of the fielders are in the infield and outfield areas to try and restrict runscoring.

Delivery

The act of bowling the ball.[9]

Dilscoop

Also known as the Marillier shot or the paddle scoop, though these have certain technical differences, it is an unorthodox batting stroke developed in Twenty20 by Sri Lankan batsman Tillakaratne Dilshan and named after him. It is a very risky stroke achieved when the batsman goes down on one knee, as if playing a sweep shot and instead "flicks" or "scoops" the ball over the heads of both himself and the wicket-keeper. If successfully done, it almost always results in a boundary. The main difference between the dilscoop and the Marillier is that the latter is played from a standing position.

Direct hit

A throw by a fielder which hits the stumps without first being held by the wicket-keeper or another fielder who is standing over the stumps to receive the throw. A fielder attempting a run out will generally try for a direct hit.

Dismissal

A means of ending the innings of a batsman or a team.[12]

Dolly

An easy catch.[3] Also, famously, the nickname of Basil D'Oliveira.

Doosra

A Hindi/Urdu word which means second or other, it is the off spinner's version of the googly, delivered out of the back of the hand and turning away from the right-handed batsman.[3]

Dot ball

No run. The term is derived from the dot which the scorers make in the scorebook whenever a delivery has not resulted in a run, an extra or a wicket.

Double

Normally the feat of scoring 1,000 runs and taking 100 wickets in a season. A match double is scoring 100 runs and taking ten wickets.

Draw

In first-class cricket, the result of an unfinished match. Historically, a draw shot was the name given to a risky shot played by some batsmen to deflect the ball between their own legs.[9]

Draw stumps

At the end of a day's play, the umpire removes the bails and "draws stumps" by pulling them out of the ground.

Drive

A forcing shot by the batsman off either foot. He aims to meet the ball at the point of pitching and, with a free swing of the bat, play one of a straight drive back down the pitch and past the bowler, an off drive past mid off or an on drive past mid on.[9]

DRS

Abbreviation. Go to Umpire Decision Review System (DRS).

Duck

A score of nought. If the batsman scores nought in both innings of the match, he is said to have collected a pair.[9]

Duckworth-Lewis method

Named after Frank Duckworth and Tony Lewis, two mathematicians who devised a system to help decide the outcome of limited overs matches that have been interrupted. The method is typically used to determine the revised target of the team batting second if their total number of overs has been reduced because of a stoppage.[3]

E

Economy rate

The average number of runs that a bowler has conceded per over.[3]

Extra cover

Refer to fielding positions diagram and to Fielding.

An infield position that is forward of square and to the left of the umpire at the bowler's end. It is between cover and mid off with no opposite.

Extras

For more information, see: Scoring (cricket).

Runs which are not scored from the bat; they comprise no balls, wides, byes and leg byes and so are a form of penalty imposed on the fielding team; known in Australasia as sundries.[9]

F

Fall of wicket (FoW)

Recorded on scorecards as the team total when each dismissal occurred (when each wicket fell).

Fast bowling (LF/RF)

For more information, see: Bowling (cricket).

A genuine fast bowler is capable of delivering the ball at a speed of 90 mph or more. LF means left arm fast; RF is right arm fast.

Fast medium pace bowling (LFM/RFM)

Still very fast but the bowler chooses to forfeit "express pace" so that he has greater control of the delivery. Fast medium bowlers often use the seam of the ball to make it swing through the air either towards or away from the batsman.

Featherbed

A pitch with little or no bounce or spin. Ideal for the batsmen, hard work for the bowlers.[3]

Field

A cricket match is played on a grassy field of variable size and shape. Field diameters of 150–160 yards are usual.[13]

Fielding

For more information, see: Fielding (cricket).

The Oxford Dictionary defines fielding as an attempt by a fielder to catch or stop ("field") the ball and return it after it has been hit by the batsman.[14]

Fill-up game

Historically, an extra game sometimes organised ad hoc to entertain the spectators if the main match had finished very early in the day.

Fine

Refer to fielding positions diagram and to Fielding.

A complicated term best known for its use in the naming of certain fielding positions. Its real importance is in defining a sector of the field in relation to the striker. Basically, a fielding position is fine if it is behind square and within 45° of the striker's wicket, either side of a line drawn from there to long stop. In the diagram, the sector is delimited by a line drawn from the striker's wicket to third man, and by another line drawn from the striker's wicket to deep fine leg. Other positions within fine are the slips, gully, leg slip and leg gully.

Fine leg

Refer to fielding positions diagram and to Fielding.

Not actually a position in its own right and it tends to be used imprecisely for either deep fine leg or short fine leg.

Finger spin bowling

For more information, see: Bowling (cricket).

The bowler uses his fingers to impart spin onto the ball at the moment of delivery. This contrasts with wrist spin.[9]

First-class cricket

The official designation of double innings matches played over at least three days between teams recognised by the ICC as first-class.[9]

Flight

Refers to the movement of the ball through the air after being bowled. Slow bowlers use flight tactically to try and deceive the batsman, for example by subtle changes in trajectory.[9]

Flipper

A type of leg spin delivery that has a low trajectory so that it shoots forward without much bounce.[3]

Fly slip

Refer to fielding positions diagram and to Fielding.

An infield position that is fine and to the left of the umpire at the bowler's end. It is an occasional position only, some twenty to thirty yards behind the slips, and used to counter a batsman who is inclined to slice the ball over the heads of the slips.[9]

Follow-on

In a double innings match, the side batting second may be obliged to bat the third innings (i.e., bat a second time out of turn) because of the size of their first innings deficit (e.g., 200-plus runs behind in a Test match).[9]

Follow-through

The last stage of the bowler's delivery after he has released the ball.[9]

Footmarks

Rough patches at each end of the pitch where the feet of successive bowlers have landed during follow-through. As the match progresses, these patches become increasingly worn and a spinning delivery landing in one of them is likely to turn and pose difficulties for the batsman. Spin bowlers therefore aim to "pitch in the footmarks".

Forward defence

The batsman plays forward to the pitch of the ball and blocks it. It means that he steps forward from his stance in order to address the ball.[4]

Forward of square

Refer to fielding positions diagram and to Fielding.

Basically, any fielding position in the diagram which is below a line drawn from deep point through the striker's popping crease to deep square leg. The area includes the covers, off,on and mid wicket sectors of the field.

French cricket

An informal version played for fun in which the batsman cannot move his feet.

Front foot

When the batsman takes guard, his front foot is the one furthest from the stumps.

When bowling the ball, the bowler's front foot in his delivery stride must land on or behind the popping crease while his back foot must land within the two return creases. If he breaks this rule, the umpire calls "no ball".

Front foot play

The batsman transfers weight onto his front foot in order to play his shot. Generally, he will move forwards if the ball is pitching on or close to a good length. There are a range of front foot shots including forward defensive stroke, leg glance, off drive, on drive, straight drive and sweep.

Full toss

The ball reaches the batsman without bouncing first and can be hit before it bounces. Also called a "full pitch", it is a very poor delivery by the bowler.[4]

G

Gardening

Minor repairs to the pitch by the batsman, using the bottom edge of his bat to smooth out indentions.[3]

Gauntlets

The reinforced gloves, including wrist protectors, which are worn by the wicket-keeper.[4]

Gentlemen

Most famously applied to the amateur players taking part in the Gentlemen v Players fixture, there were numerous teams whose name included Gentlemen.[4]

Given man

In the early history of cricket, a "given man" was a player who did not normally play for a particular team but was included to strengthen it in a certain match. Early first-class matches were usually the subject of big wagers and it was therefore desirable that the two sides were perceived to be of roughly equal strength. The concept is similar to that of handicapping in modern-day horse racing, whereby horses carry different weights in an attempt to equalise their chances of winning, again to encourage betting.

Giving the ball air

The bowler delivers with a high or parabolic trajectory instead of a flat trajectory.[4]

Glance

Go to Leg glance.

Good length

From the bowler's point of view, the ideal length of a delivery in terms of the difficulty it poses for the batsman, who must quickly decide whether to play back or forward.[3]

Googly

Also known as a wrong 'un or a bosie, an off-break being bowled by a right arm spinner with a leg-break action or an orthodox delivery being bowled by a left arm unorthodox spinner with a chinaman action. Essentially, the ball spins in the opposite direction to that of the spin bowler's stock delivery. It was devised by B. J. T. Bosanquet at the end of the 19th century and the Australian term bosie was coined in his honour.[4]

Grip

How the batsman holds the bat, how the bowler holds the ball and, less obviously, a alternative name for the rubber sheath which encases the bat handle.

Groundsman

The person responsible for maintenance of the whole ground with particular emphasis on the playing area.

Groundstaff

Club employees, mainly junior players, who perform various support roles such as bowling in the nets and assisting the groundsman.[4]

Grounding

When returning to the safe area behind the popping crease, the batsman "grounds" his bat beyond the crease to ensure he cannot be stumped or run out. Grounding one foot behind the crease has the same result.

Guard

When the batsman adopts his stance to await delivery of the ball, he is said to be "taking guard".

Gully

Refer to fielding positions diagram and to Fielding.

A close catching position that is fine and to the left of the umpire at the bowler's end. It is opposite leg gully and wide of the slips so that there is always a noticeable gap between gully and the outermost slip. In that respect, gully's actual position is dependent on disposition of the slips.[4]

H

Half-century

Term applied to any score by a batsman between 50 and 99.

Half-volley

A poor delivery by the bowler that pitches beyond a good length but is not a full toss. As such, it is easy for the batsman to play forward and meet it with a drive shot, usually scoring runs.[4][3]

Handled the ball

An unusual means of dismissal whereby a batsman deliberately, and thus illegally, uses his hand to touch the ball. This used to be a mode of dismissal in its own right but since 2017 it is included in obstructing the field. The bowled ball often hits the batsman's hand but that is not intentional by the batsman and so is not out, though he can of course be caught off his hand.[3][15]

Hat-trick

Three wickets taken in consecutive deliveries by the same bowler. The term originated after H. H. Stephenson achieved the feat when playing for the All-England Eleven at the Hyde Park Ground, Sheffield in 1858. A collection was organised and someone decided to buy Stephenson a hat with the proceeds.[16]

Hawk-Eye

A technological aid to the third umpire and used in the decision review system (DRS); it tracks the trajectory of a delivery, omitting the presence of the batsman, so that leg before wicket (lbw) appeals can be judged.[3]

Helmet

Protective gear for the head which is now invariably worn by batsmen and close fielders.

Hit the ball twice

An unusual means of dismissal that was introduced in the eighteenth century, possibly sooner, as a safety measure to counter dangerous play and protect the fielders. The batsman cannot hit the ball a second time to try and score runs or avoid being caught. He can, however, knock the ball away from his stumps with the bat if he is danger of playing on.[4][3][17]

Hit wicket

A common means of dismissal whereby a batsman did just that, often by hitting the wicket with his bat or by falling onto it or somehow hitting it with his foot or leg.[18]

Hook

A cross bat shot across the line of delivery to hit a short-pitched ball away to the on side. It is a risky shot but, if successfully executed, the hook often clears the boundary for six runs.[4]

Hot Spot

A technological aid to the third umpire and used in the decision review system (DRS); it films the batsman with an infra-red camera so that any impact by the ball on a bat or pad is highlighted as a white spot (the hot spot) in the resultant image.

How's that?

Go to Owzat?

I

In-swinger

A fast delivery in which the ball swings (i.e., achieves lateral movement) in the air and moves from off to leg (i.e., it swings into the batsman having seemed to be going outside the wicket on his off side); a fast bowler effects swing by using a particular grasp of the seam in his hand before releasing the ball. It was first developed to good effect by the American bowler Bart King around 1895.[19]

Indoor cricket

A fast-paced version of cricket which places an emphasis on physical fitness. There are two forms: one with a soft ball and a tension net; one with a hard ball.[20]

Infield

Loosely used term for the area of the field that is close to the pitch; broadly speaking it is delimited by the cover point and mid-wicket fielding positions; the outer area closer to the boundary is called the outfield.[4]

Innings

For more information, see: Innings (cricket).

One of the main phases of play into which a match is divided.

Innings defeat/victory

In a double innings match, if one team scores more runs in one innings than their opponents can score in two completed innings, the winning team is said to have won the match by an innings and the number of runs they are ahead. They have thus achieved an innings victory and their opponents have suffered an innings defeat.

Inside edge

When a batsman does not time his shot correctly and the ball touches the edge of the bat closest to his legs, the shot is called an inside edge; if the ball flies off the inside edge and onto the stumps, the batsman has played on and is out.

International Cricket Council (ICC)

For more information, see: International Cricket Council.

The sport's global governing body.

J

Jock strap

A form of male underwear worn by batsmen and designed to hold the box firmly in place.

K

Keeper

Commonly used abbreviation of wicket-keeper.

Keeping the strike

Scoring a single or a three from the last ball of an over and so retaining strike for the start of the next over.

King pair

A batsman who has been dismissed first ball in both innings is said to have collected a king pair.[3]

Knock

Slang for a batsman's innings, referred to as a good knock if he makes a high score.

Kolpak ruling

Legislation passed by the European Court in 2003 which enables overseas players to play in British and Irish domestic cricket.[3]

Kwik cricket

A variation of the sport used primarily as an introduction to cricket for children.[21]

L

Late cut

A variation of the cut shot in which the stroke is delayed until the ball is almost past the batsman. It is achieved with a wrist action rather than an arm action, as in the conventional square cut, and the ball is deflected downwards through (unless stopped by a fielder) the slips.[19]

Leading edge

A mis-hit by the batsman which results in the ball going forward but in the wrong direction.[3]

League cricket

In England and Wales, the level of competition below county cricket which essentially involves town and village teams playing in weekend leagues. The standard of play in some leagues is very high and there is a long history of professionalism.

Leave

The batsman may deliberately allow the ball to pass him without offering a shot, if he thinks it will not hit the wicket.

Left-arm orthodox spin

Go to Slow left-arm orthodox.

Left-arm unorthodox spin

Go to Slow left-arm chinaman.

Leg aka leg side

Refer to fielding positions diagram and to Fielding.

A complicated term best known for its use in the naming of certain fielding positions. Its real importance is in defining a sector of the field in relation to the striker. Basically, a fielding position is to leg if it is to the right of the umpire at the bowler's end and behind square within 45° of square from the striker's wicket. In the diagram, the sector is delimited by a line drawn from the striker's wicket to deep fine leg, and by another drawn line from the striker's wicket to deep square leg.

Leg before wicket (lbw)

A common means of dismissal that is complex in its application but basically means that the batsman would have been bowled if the ball had not hit his leg first. The decision is entirely based on the umpire's judgment but the fielding side must first appeal for the dismissal. The umpire must decide if the ball pitched outside the line of the leg stump because, if so, the batsman cannot be out. If the ball strikes the pad outside the line of the off stump, the batsman cannot be out unless he is offering no stroke.

Leg break (LB)

A delivery bowled by a leg-spin bowler; bowled to a right-handed batsman, the ball will turn from the leg side to the off side (i.e., it will pass in front of the batsman from his left to his right).

Leg break and googly (LBG)

A style of bowling in which a leg spinner will sometimes deploy the googly.

Leg bye

Extra(s) awarded if the ball hits the batsman's leg, but not his bat, and it goes away from the fielders to give the batsmen time to run in the conventional way; a leg bye cannot be claimed if the batsman did not try to play the ball with the bat.

Leg cutter

Basically a leg break bowled by a fast or medium-pace bowler, except that it does not spin and achieves its break after hitting the pitch.

Leg glance

A stroke made by a deft turn of the wrists which deflects the ball to the leg side. It was first made famous by Kumar Shri Ranjitsinhji.[4]

Leg gully

Refer to fielding positions diagram and to Fielding.

A close catching position that is fine on the leg side to the left of leg slip and opposite gully.

Leg slip

Refer to fielding positions diagram and to Fielding.

A close catching position that is fine on the leg side. The fielder stands next to the wicket-keeper on that side and to the right of leg gully.

Leg spin

Go to Leg break.

Leg theory

The technical term given to bodyline bowling because it involved an arc of close fielders on the leg side who were grouped to catch a delivery being fended away from the batsman's body. This type of field setting is now illegal.

Length

Reference to the distance which a delivery travels before pitching: e.g., good length, short pitched, full toss.[3]

Lifter

A delivery that rises unexpectedly, even off a good length.[3]

Limited overs cricket

For more information, see: Limited overs cricket.

A match in which the teams have one innings each and a fixed number of overs is bowled per innings.

Line

Reference to an imaginary line between the two middle stumps.

Line and length

A type of bowling often associated with medium pacers who pitch the ball just outside the off stump on what is termed a good length just in front of the batsman. The batsman is forced to play a stroke to this sort of delivery, usually defensive, to protect his wicket.

List A

The statistical standard approved by the ICC for top-class limited overs cricket but excluding Twenty20.

Lob bowling

A type of underarm bowling in which the ball is given a high trajectory.

Long hop

A short-pitched delivery with little bounce and so easily hit by the batsman.

Long leg

Refer to fielding positions diagram and to Fielding.

An outfield position that is behind square and to the right of the umpire at the bowler's end. It is opposite deep backward point and between deep fine leg and deep square leg.

Long off

Refer to fielding positions diagram and to Fielding.

An outfield position that is forward of square and to the left of the umpire at the bowler's end. It is opposite long on and between deep extra cover and straight hit.

Long on

Refer to fielding positions diagram and to Fielding.

An outfield position that is forward of square and to the right of the umpire at the bowler's end. It is opposite long off and between cow corner and straight hit.

Long stop

Refer to fielding positions diagram and to Fielding.

An outfield position that is directly behind the wicket-keeper. It is opposite straight hit at the other end of the ground and between third man and deep fine leg. Long stop is a rarely used position in modern cricket, except in some junior matches. Historically, however, it was commonly filled. In 18th century cricket, George Leer of Hambledon was a noted exponent.

Lost ball

If the fielding team cannot locate the ball after it has been hit, they must call out lost ball so that the umpire can halt play while a new ball is obtained. The batsman is credited with six runs.

Lunch interval

The first interval in a day's play; its timing, though scheduled, is flexible depending on match and weather conditions.

M

Maiden

An over in which no runs are scored from the bat; it is credited to the bowler in his statistical analysis.

Mankading

The act by the bowler of breaking the wicket at the non-striker's end to run him out before the bowler has completed his delivery. Bowlers sometimes warn a non-striker about backing up (i.e., leaving his safe area before the ball has been bowled). It is named after Vinoo Mankad who was involved in a controversy for running out an Australian batsman in this way during a 1947–48 Test match in Australia.

Man of the match

A subjective award given after some types of match to the player deemed by the judge(s) to have been the outstanding performer.

Marillier shot

Also known as the dilscoop or the paddle scoop, though these have certain technical differences, it is an unorthodox batting stroke developed in Twenty20 by Zimbabwean batsman Dougie Marillier. It is a very risky stroke achieved when the batsman flicks the ball over the heads of both himself and the wicket-keeper but, if successfully done, it almost always results in a boundary. The main difference between the Marillier and the dilscoop is that the latter is a variation of the sweep shot played with one knee on the ground.

Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC)

Founded in 1787 and the foremost club in the game for nearly 200 years. MCC still hold copyright of the Laws and remain responsible for drafting and publication.[3]

Matting

An alternative surface for the pitch which is never seen in top-class cricket any more. It used to be common in the hotter countries where it can be difficult to cultivate grass pitches. Matting is made out of either jute or coconut fibre. If evenly laid, it is in fact a very good pitch to play on.[22]

Medium pace bowling (LM/RM)

For more information, see: Bowling (cricket).

A type of bowling often associated with line and length and use of the seam; a medium pacer will often try to contain, rather than dismiss, the batsman by bowling accurately and economically without taking risks.

Mid off

Refer to fielding positions diagram and to Fielding.

An infield position that is forward of square and to the left of the umpire at the bowler's end. It is opposite mid on and right of extra cover.

Mid on

Refer to fielding positions diagram and to Fielding.

An infield position that is forward of square and to the right of the umpire at the bowler's end. It is opposite mid off and left of mid wicket.

Mid wicket (specific fielding position)

Refer to fielding positions diagram and to Fielding.

Mid wicket is specifically an infield position that is forward of square and to the right of the umpire at the bowler's end. It is also, technically, a sector of the field between leg and on (see below). It is opposite cover and approximately halfway between the centre of the pitch and the deep mid-wicket boundary.

Mid wicket (sector of field)

Refer to fielding positions diagram and to Fielding.

Though best known as a specific infield position (see above), mid wicket is also, technically, a sector of the field forward of square which is to the right of the umpire at the bowler's end and within 45° of the striker's wicket from square. In the diagram, the sector is delimited by a line drawn from the striker's wicket to deep square leg, and by another line drawn from the striker's wicket to cow corner.

Minor counties

In England and Wales, the county cricket clubs which are not members of the County Cricket Championship and do not play first-class cricket although most have been active at List A level. These clubs form the Minor Counties Championship.[22] The standard of play at these clubs is actually high and their teams are minor in name only. A good comparison would be the clubs in the English Football League Championship, the level immediately below the Premier League.

Mobile rain cover

Go to Cover (equipment).

N

Nelson

A score of 111 with associations of superstition.

Nervous nineties

The supposed psychological pressure on a batsman who is within ten runs of a century.[3]

Nets

A practice pitch is surrounded on three sides by netting to contain the ball within the pitch area.

New ball

The ball is usually changed after eighty overs. As the new ball is in such good condition compared with the "old ball", it is generally welcomed by the quicker bowlers but it comes off the bat at greater speed too.[3]

Nightwatchman

A lower order batsman who is sent in ahead of schedule when a wicket falls towards close of play; the captain hopes that the nightwatchman will manage to stay in till play ends so that a recognised batsman does not have to face the last few overs. There have been cases of nightwatchmen not only surviving till close of play but going on to make large scores next day.

No ball

A penalty of one extra that is conceded by the bowler if he breaks the rules of bowling either by: (a) using an inappropriate arm action; (b) overstepping the popping crease; (c) bowling with a foot outside the return crease.

No result

If a limited overs match is disrupted by the weather or other factors and cannot be completed, it is declared a no result which is the equivalent of the draw in first-class cricket.

Non-striker

Refer to fielding positions diagram and to Fielding.

The batsman not on strike who stands at the bowler's end of the pitch to await delivery.

Notch

In the early days of cricket and through the eighteenth century, runs were recorded by the scorers using tally sticks on which "notches" were carved with a knife. Contemporary accounts refer to runs as notches, hence a player scored this many notches or a team won by that many notches.[22]

Not out

Essentially, to remain undismissed when the innings ends but the term is also used for both the batsmen on the field while the innings is in progress.[22]

O

Obstructing the field

An unusual means of dismissal that tends to involve a batsman deliberately getting in the way of a fielder. Under the 2017 Laws, it now includes handled the ball.

Odds match

Essentially historical as such matches were common in the nineteenth century when "travelling teams" like the All-England Eleven were in vogue; it is simply a match in which one team has more players than the other.

Off break (OB)

An off spin delivery by a right-arm spin bowler which turns from the off side towards the leg side when the batsman is right-handed.

Off cutter

Basically an off break bowled by a fast or medium-pace bowler, except that it does not spin and achieves its break after hitting the pitch.

Off drive

A forceful shot into the off-side of the field by stepping forward to the pitch of the ball and meeting it on the full with a vertically downward swing of the bat.[22]

Off aka off side

Refer to fielding positions diagram and to Fielding.

The sector of the field forward of square which is immediately to the left of the umpire at the bowler's end and, technically, within 45° of the striker's wicket on a line drawn from there to straight hit. It is the opposite of the on side. In the diagram, the sector is delimited by a line drawn vertically from the striker's wicket through the non-striker's wicket to straight hit, and by another line drawn from the striker's wicket to deep extra cover.

Off the mark

The batsman has scored his first run and has "broken his duck".[3]

On drive

A forceful shot into the on-side of the field by stepping forward to the pitch of the ball and meeting it on the full with a vertically downward swing of the bat.[22]

On aka on side

Refer to fielding positions diagram and to Fielding.

The sector of the field forward of square which is immediately to the right of the umpire at the bowler's end and, technically, within 45° of the striker's wicket on a line drawn from there to straight hit. It is the opposite of the off side. In the diagram, the sector is delimited by a line drawn vertically from the striker's wicket through the non-striker's wicket to straight hit, and by another line drawn from the striker's wicket to cow corner.

On strike

The batsman who is facing the bowler is the striker and, therefore, on strike.

Out

The batsman has been dismissed because the umpire has declared him to be "out".

Out-swinger

Also called the "away swinger", a fast delivery in which the ball swings (i.e., achieves lateral movement) in the air and moves away from the batsman's body to his off side (i.e., it swings away from the batsman having seemed to be going to his leg side or straight towards him and his wicket); a fast bowler effects swing by using a particular grasp of the seam in his hand before releasing the ball.

Outfield

Loosely used term for the area of the field that is towards the boundary; the inner area closer to the pitch is called the infield.[4]

Outside edge

A mistimed shot by the batsman who has hit or nudged the ball with the edge of his bat that is furthest from his body. Having done this, the batsman is likely to be caught behind.[3]

Over

A period of play in which six successive deliveries are bowled by one bowler from the same end of the pitch; the name comes from the umpire's call of Over! after the sixth delivery has been completed; the next over is bowled by a different bowler from the other end of the pitch.

Overarm bowling

For more information, see: Bowling (cricket).

Legalised in 1864, the ball is delivered with the arm raised above shoulder level.

Overthrow

An additional run taken by the batsmen after a fielder's return throw has gone astray.

Over the wicket

The bowler runs up to deliver from the side of the wicket to which his arm is nearest. A right arm bowler delivers with the umpire on his right and a left arm bowler with the umpire on his left.[23]

Owzat?

Meaning "how's that?", the usual shout by a bowler or fielder when appealing for a batsman to be dismissed.

P

Pads

Protective gear for the knees and shins worn by the batsmen and the wicket-keeper.

Paddle scoop

Go to Marillier shot.

Pair

Getting a pair is achieved by a batsman who is out without scoring in both innings of a two-innings match; short for pair of spectacles, meaning two zeroes.

Partnership

Also called a "stand" and basically, the time in which the same two batsmen are batting together; in common usage, the number of runs scored during their partnership is referred to as an nth wicket partnership of x runs.

Pavilion

A structure common to cricket grounds in which the players' dressing rooms are located; the pavilion is generally the club's headquarters and seating is usually provided there for the club members; large pavilions (e.g., at Lord's) also serve as grandstands.

Pinch hitter

A baseball term used here for a lower order batsman who has been sent in early with instructions to try and increase the run rate.

Pitch

As a noun, the pitch is the central playing area. As a verb, to pitch means to bowl the ball through the air and cause it to bounce either before or when it reaches the batsman.

Pitch cover

Go to Cover (equipment).

Play and miss

The batsman attempts a shot but misses the ball; the phrase is commonly used if the batsman has narrowly missed the ball which is then caught by the wicket-keeper, the inference being that he would have been out if he had touched the ball.

Played on

The batsman has made contact with the ball but diverted it onto his wicket; in the scorecard, the dismissal is recorded as bowled and credited to the bowler.

Playing time

In a first-class match, the scheduled playing time is six hours in a day with intervals for lunch and tea.

Point (specific fielding position)

Refer to fielding positions diagram and to Fielding.

Point is specifically an infield position that is square of the striker and to the left of the umpire at the bowler's end. It is also, technically, a sector of the field behind square (see below).

Point (sector of field)

Refer to fielding positions diagram and to Fielding.

Though best known as a specific infield position (see above), point is also, technically, the sector of the field to the left of the umpire at the bowler's end and behind square within 45° of square from the striker's wicket. In the diagram, the sector is delimited by a line drawn from the striker's wicket to deep point, and by another drawn line from the striker's wicket to third man.

Popping crease

A line drawn parallel to the bowling crease and four feet in front of it; the batsman is safe from stumping and run out if his bat or any part of his body is grounded behind the crease; the batsmen complete runs by grounding their bats there. The line is physically drawn on the pitch only but in fact it extends from the backward point boundary to the square leg boundary.

Powerplay

A rule introduced in 2005 concerning fielding restrictions in limited overs international (LOI) cricket; it applies not only to the first ten overs of every innings, but also in two blocks of five overs to be used at the discretion of the fielding captain.

Professional

Nowadays means anyone who receives remuneration for playing but historically it meant a contracted player who was not a member of the so-called gentry and was paid a wage or match fee. In the Gentlemen v Players matches, the Players were always professionals and the Gentlemen were the amateurs who supposedly claimed reasonable expenses only. The distinction was entirely based on social class, never on playing ability, and it was finally abolished in 1962. The term "professional" is rarely used in common parlance now except, as in golf, for a player at a local club or school who is essentially a coach.[23]

Pull shot

The batsman hits across the line against a short-pitched delivery, playing the ball to the leg side and directing it towards the central part of the boundary between deep mid-wicket and backward square-leg.

Q

Quick (or quickie)

Slang for a fast bowler.

R

Referral

Request to the off-field third umpire to review an on-field umpiring decision (see Umpire Decision Review System).

Result

A match may be won by either team or may be either a draw or a tie; a win is by either a number of runs (i.e., if the team batting last was all out without reaching their target) or a number of wickets (i.e., the number of wickets standing when the winning run was scored).

Retired hurt

The phrase used in the scorecard if a batsman cannot continue his innings due to illness or injury; the batsman can return later but only after a wicket has fallen.

Return

The throw by a fielder, to either wicket, having fielded the ball.

Return creases

Two lines at either side of each wicket which extend backwards at right angles from the bowling crease and four feet four inches from the middle stump. Their purpose is to limit the area in which the bowler's rear foot must land in the delivery stride, which means he must be within that range of the wicket when he bowls.

Reverse sweep

An unconventional stroke played by dropping to one knee and reversing the hands so that the ball can be swept from leg to off instead of off to leg.[3]

Reverse swing

While normal swing is movement in the air away from the shiny side of the ball, reverse swing is the opposite and tends to happen with an older ball. Noted exponents have been Waqar Younis, Wasim Akram and Simon Jones.

Ring field

Several fielders forming an arc round the batsman in the close catching positions.[3]

Roller

A revolving cylinder on a central axis used for flattening turf, it is used on the pitch before each innings to even out the surface.

Rope

Generally used to mark the boundary. If the ball hits the rope, four runs are awarded (six if it is hit onto or over the rope on the full).[3]

Roses match

Any match between Lancashire and Yorkshire, so named because of the iconic red and white roses on their respective badges. In the inter-war period, when these two counties dominated the County Championship, the Roses matches were the highpoint of every season unless Australia were on tour.

Rough

The area of the pitch that has been subject to wear and tear by bowlers' footmarks; spin bowlers try to capitalise by pitching into the rough as it gives them more turn.

Roundarm bowling

For more information, see: Bowling (cricket).

A style of bowling in which the hand is at shoulder height during delivery. It was introduced amid fierce controversy in the 1820s and 1830s, superseding underarm bowling. Until the legalisation of overarm bowling in 1864, roundarm was predominant. It continued to be used into the twentieth century by many bowlers, most famously W. G. Grace, but is rarely seen in 21st century cricket, the notable exception being Lasith Malinga.

Round the wicket

The bowler runs up to deliver from the side of the wicket that is furthest away from his arm. This is unconventional and tends to be done only if it is perceived that pitch conditions might be advantageous; for example, if there is a rough patch on the batsman's leg side of the pitch. A right arm bowler delivers with the umpire on his left and a left arm bowler with the umpire on his right.[23]

Rubber

A somewhat obsolete term for a Test series.[23]

Run

For more information, see: Scoring (cricket).

The means of scoring in cricket. Basically, both batsmen are legitimately able to run to the other end of the pitch without either of them being dismissed.

Run chase

The attempt by the team batting in the final innings to win the match by outscoring their opponents; if they succeed, they have won by the number of their wickets still standing.

Run out

A common means of dismissal by which a fielder has broken the wicket with the ball while a batsman was out of his ground; this usually occurs by means of an accurate throw to the wicket while the batsmen are attempting a run.

Run rate

More applicable to limited overs than first-class, it measures the average number of runs per over.

Run-up

The bowler's approach to the wicket; a fast bowler may need a run up of several yards, a spin bowler only a few short steps.

Runner

If a batsman is injured so that his running is impaired, one of his team can run for him. The runner stands at square leg and runs to a point in line with the popping crease at the bowler's end. He must carry a bat and wear all the same equipment as the batsman he is assisting; and he can be run out.

S

Scoreboard

A large board, often the frontage of a building, on which basic details of the match score are displayed and are updated after each delivery. A basic scoreboard is operated manually but international stadiums often have electronically operated boards.

Scorecard

A printed summary of the match details including runs scored, how dismissed, extras gained, result, etc. Cards are often produced and sold at grounds so that spectators can obtain updates of the play so far.[23]

The earliest known scorecards were created in 1744 but usage seems to have been occasional until 1772 when they became routine. Many early cards gave scores only with no information about dismissals. Until well into the nineteenth century, cards did not credit the bowler with the wicket if the batsman was caught, only the catcher's name being given, and bowling analyses were not provided either.

Scoring

For more information, see: Scoring (cricket).

Scoring is done by the batting team through the accumulation of runs and extras. The term also means the process of recording the details of every delivery and this is done off-field by two official scorers, one from each team.

Seam

The raised stitching around the ball that holds its two halves together. The seam causes deviation of the ball off the pitch during delivery.[3]

Seam bowling

A type of bowling, generally at a medium to fast pace, which utilises the raised seam of the ball to try and cause an uneven bounce on pitching; a bowler using this technique is commonly referred to as a seamer.[3]

Second XI

In effect, a club's reserve team; England and Wales have a Second XI Championship contested by the reserve sides of the clubs in the County Cricket Championship.

Session

A day's play is divided into three sessions delimited by lunch, tea and close of play.

Shine

Meaning the shine on the ball when it is no longer new and the fielding team have tried to polish one side of it to assist a swing bowler; the batsman hitting the ball is sometimes said to be taking the shine off.

Shooter

A delivery that fails to achieve bounce as a result of pitching on an uneven spot in the pitch; it is so-called because it deviates sharply at low or ground level towards the wicket and can be unplayable by even a top-class batsman.

Short of a length

Bowlers generally pitch the ball in an area just in front of the batsman that is called a good length; a short-pitched delivery is one that pitches short of this good length so that it has extra bounce (see also bouncer).

Short run

If the batsman when turning for a second run does not ground his bat properly beyond the popping crease, the umpire must call "one short" and disallow that run.[23]

The term is also used colloquially for a run taken after the striker has hit the ball a very short distance or merely blocked it.[24] Another name for this is a "quick single". It will not be done if there are fielders very close to the batsman, as when a slow bowler is operating, so it is more common to see the short run when a fast bowler is on and he is the only member of the fielding side able to react. The fast bowler is still completing his follow-through as the shot is played so he is likely to be off balance and at a disadvantage if both batsmen act quickly. Most fast bowlers are good outfielders, however, and can pick up and throw the ball very accurately, so the short run is always a gamble with a high risk of one batsman being run out.

Short fine leg

Refer to fielding positions diagram and to Fielding.

An infield position that is behind square and to the right of the umpire at the bowler's end. It is opposite short third man and right of backward square leg.

Short (square) leg

Refer to fielding positions diagram and to Fielding.

A close catching position that is square on the leg side as the name suggests. The position is as for square leg except that the fielder is very close to the batsman. If the batsman has a side-on stance, the short square leg is in effect crouching directly behind him. Brian Close was a noted short square leg fielder.

Short third man

Refer to fielding positions diagram and to Fielding.

An infield position that is behind square and to the left of the umpire at the bowler's end. It is opposite short fine leg and between fly slip and backward point.

Shot

Go to Stroke.

Shoulder arms

The batsman, in response to a delivery pitched just outside the line of the off stump, raises his bat above his head to ensure that he does not edge the ball to the wicket-keeper or slip fielders.[3]

Side on

A description of the bowler's action, resembling the cartwheel in gymnastics, if his body from his back foot to his leading arm are aligned in the direction of the batsman. A bowler needs athletic prowess to properly execute a side on delivery. Fred Trueman was one of many fast bowlers noted for his ability to bowl in this way; it is considered a classic action. The converse is a chest on action, for which Trueman's England colleague Brian Statham was noted.

The term is sometimes used about a batsman if, in his stance, he is similarly side on to the bowler.

Sightscreen

A large hoarding or screen which is directly behind each wicket and outside the field of play; its purpose is to provide a clear background which assists the batsman in seeing the ball being delivered. The screen is white in daytime play when a red ball is in use and is covered in black material for an evening game in which a white ball is used.

Silly (fielding positions)

Adjective applied to fielding positions which are dangerously close to the batsman; they include silly mid off, silly mid on and silly point.

Silly mid off

Refer to fielding positions diagram and to Fielding.

A close catching position that is forward of square and to the left of the umpire at the bowler's end. It is opposite silly mid on and just off the pitch about halfway between the two wickets.

Silly mid on

Refer to fielding positions diagram and to Fielding.

A close catching position that is forward of square and to the right of the umpire at the bowler's end. It is opposite silly mid off and just off the pitch about halfway between the two wickets.

Silly point

Refer to fielding positions diagram and to Fielding.

A close catching position that is forward of square and to the left of the umpire at the bowler's end. It is opposite short square leg and effectively face-to-face with the striker as he takes guard.

Single

The completion of one run only between the wickets is called a single; two runs is called a two, never a double, and three runs is always a three, never a treble.

Single wicket

For more information, see: Single wicket cricket.


A historical form of top-class cricket, very popular in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, in which only a single batsman was on the field. Team sizes varied from one to six and there were sometimes restrictions on how runs could be scored.

Sitter

A catch which should not be at all difficult to hold. Also called a dolly.[3]

Six

Six runs are awarded to the batsman whenever the ball is hit over the boundary on the full.

Slider

A delivery by a wrist spinner (e.g., LBG, SLC) which has back spin (i.e., spins with reverse rotation).

Slip

Refer to fielding positions diagram and to Fielding.

Any one of up to five close catching positions that are fine and form an arc between the wicket-keeper and gully. The one next to the wicket-keeper is called first slip and the others are second slip, third slip, fourth slip and fifth slip. Their purpose is to catch balls off the edge of the bat which fly wide of the wicket-keeper. If several slips and a leg slip are deployed, the term "slip cordon" is sometimes used.

Slog

Basically a loose and hefty swing of the bat with minimal technique and the intention of hitting the ball out of the field; a very risky shot generally associated with tail-enders; players who slog on a regular basis are generally known as "sloggers".

Slow left-arm chinaman (SLC)

An unorthodox style of left-arm wrist spin bowling in which the ball is released from the hand over the little finger (this is sometimes called a back of the hand delivery). The resultant rotation of the ball is clockwise. The bowler normally operates on the right side of his wicket, so that his bowling arm is over the wicket. If the batsman is right-handed, the bowler directs his delivery in a diagonal direction towards the batsman's off stump and the ball on pitching turns in from the off towards the batsman and his leg stump. If the batsman is left-handed, the chinaman turns away from him towards his off stump. The origin of the term chinaman is uncertain.[3][5]

Slow left-arm orthodox (SLA)

A style of left-arm finger spin bowling in which the ball is released from the fingers with an anti-clockwise rotation. The bowler normally operates on the right side of his wicket, so that his bowling arm is over the wicket. If the batsman is right-handed, the bowler directs his delivery in a diagonal direction towards the batsman's leg stump and the ball on pitching turns towards the off and away from the batsman. If the batsman is left-handed, the orthodox delivery turns in from the off towards the batsman and his leg stump. There have been numerous great SLA bowlers, including Wilfred Rhodes who holds the world record for the greatest number of wickets taken in a first-class career.

Slower ball

A tactic used by a fast bowler to deceive the batsman, the delivery being bowled at medium pace instead of the usual fast pace.

Spell

The number of overs bowled by an individual bowler in continuous deployment at one end of the pitch (bearing in mind that he bowls every other over). A fast bowler might typically complete about ten overs in a spell before being rested; a slow bowler can continue much longer.

Spin bowling

For more information, see: Bowling (cricket).

The art of imparting spin onto the delivery by using either a flick of the fingers or a twist of the wrist. The ball is delivered at a relatively slow pace and spin is therefore the counterpoint of speed.

Splice

The joint between the handle and the blade of the bat.

Square

Refer to fielding positions diagram and to Fielding.

A complicated term best known for its use in the naming of certain fielding positions such as square leg, where the second umpire also stands. Its real importance is in defining an area of the field in relation to the striker. Basically, a fielding position is square if it is somewhere along a line drawn horizontally across the field from deep point along the striker's popping crease to deep square leg.

See also behind square and forward of square.

Square leg

Refer to fielding positions diagram and to Fielding.

An infield position that is square and to the right of the umpire at the bowler's end. It is opposite point and between backward square leg and mid wicket.

Square leg umpire

Refer to fielding positions diagram and to Fielding.

While one umpire stands behind the wicket at the bowler's end, his colleague occupies a position on the line of square so that he is directly in line with the popping crease in order to judge run out and stumping appeals. If there is a square leg fielder, they stand moreorless alongside each other.

Stand

Go to Partnership.

Standing back/up

Refers to the wicket-keeper and where he is during delivery. If a slow bowler is operating, he will "stand up" so that he is immediately behind the stumps and has the opportunity to effect a stumping if the batsman misses the ball and steps out of his ground. If a fast bowler is operating, the keeper "stands back", mainly for safety reasons but also so that he has more time to see the ball if the batsman misses it. In this context, "standing" is a misnomer because the wicket-keeper actually squats or crouches when taking guard.[3]

Sticky wicket

Also known as a sticky dog, a pitch drying after rain creates notoriously difficult batting conditions so that the batsmen are said to have been caught on a sticky wicket. With routine covering of pitches in recent decades, the "sticky wicket" has become rare in first-class cricket.

Stock bowler

A bowler, usually of steady medium pace, who consistently pitches the ball on a good length to make runscoring difficult; such a bowler is taking no risks and is not necessarily trying to take wickets.[3]

Stock delivery

A bowler's standard type of delivery; any variation is termed an unorthodox delivery (e.g., a leg spinner's stock delivery is the leg break and he might occasionally bowl a googly).

Stonewaller

A batsman who specialises in defensive strokes, generally without trying to score any runs, his purpose being to keep one end intact so that his partners can concentrate on accumulating runs. Trevor Bailey, known as "The Barnacle", was famous to the point of notoriety for his stonewalling approach.[3]

Straight bat

The bat when held vertically or when a shot is played in which the bat is swung through the vertical; playing a straight bat has become a common term for honest and uncomplicated dealing in real life.

Straight hit

Refer to fielding positions diagram and to Fielding.

An outfield position that is directly behind the umpire at the bowler's end. It is opposite long stop at the other end of the ground and between long off and long on.

Strike rate

In terms of batting, the percentage of runs scored over deliveries received; in terms of bowling, the average number of balls bowled between taking wickets.[3]

Striker

Refer to fielding positions diagram and to Fielding.

The batsman who is facing the bowler and is on strike to receive the ball being delivered.

Stroke

Any attempt by the batsman to hit the ball with his bat; each type of stroke has a designated name. Also called a "shot".

Stump

Three stumps are aligned on each popping crease to form the wicket. They are called off stump, middle stump and leg stump.

Stumped

A common means of dismissal that it is executed by the wicket-keeper alone (and credited to him) after the batsman has missed the bowled ball and has stepped out of his ground. The wicket-keeper must break the wicket with the ball in his hand to complete the "stumping". If he dismisses the batsman by throwing the ball at the wicket, it is a run out.

Stumps

The end of a day's play; based on the act of removing the stumps when play has ended.

Stump-cam

A tiny television camera housed in a stump.

Substitute

Substitute fielders are allowed but they may not bowl or keep wicket; substitute batsmen are not allowed but are known to have been deployed historically; see also Twelfth man.

Sundries

Go to Extras.

Sweep

A shot played by the batsman from a semi-kneeling position and playing across the line of delivery to try and hit the ball towards the square leg or mid wicket boundary.

Swing bowling

A delivery in which the ball swings (i.e., achieves lateral movement) in the air and moves either towards (in-swinger) or away from (out-swinger) the batsman; the bowler effects swing by using a particular grasp of the seam in his hand before releasing the ball which has been judiciously polished, by the bowler and fielders, on one side of the seam only. Polishing one side assists lateral movement as air flows more easily past the shiny side than the worn side, causing the ball to deviate in flight so that, if the shiny side is on the left, it swings to the right.

Switch hit

A shot played by a batsman who has altered both his stance and his grip during the bowler's run-up, thereby converting himself from a right hand bat (RHB) to a left hand bat (LHB), or vice-versa.

T

Tail

The last three or four positions in the batting order which are generally filled by the team's bowlers and, sometimes, the wicket-keeper; these are the players, known as tail-enders, who lack recognised batting skills and, depending on how many there are, the tail is described as long or short; if the tail-enders do well and unexpectedly score a lot of runs, it is often said that the tail wagged. There are teams in which all eleven players have skill as batsmen and so there is no tail in such a team.

Tail-ender

A player of limited batting ability who has one of the positions at the end of the batting order; see Tail above.[3]

Tea interval

The second interval in a day's play; its timing, though scheduled, is flexible depending on match and weather conditions.

Teesra

Teesra is Urdu for "third one". It is supposed to be a doosra with extra bounce, bowled by an off spinner, but it is doubtful if it is a controlled delivery.

Ten wickets in a match

Sometimes called a ten-wicket haul; an outstanding achievement by a bowler who has taken at least half of the twenty wickets available in a first-class match; the number of such instances are generally included in a player's career statistics under the heading of 10wM.

Test match

For more information, see: Test cricket.

An international match between two teams representing full ICC member countries played under first-class rules and scheduled for five days; Test matches are globally the sport's highest standard of play.

Third man

Refer to fielding positions diagram and to Fielding.

An outfield position that is fine and to the left of the umpire at the bowler's end. It is opposite deep fine leg and between long stop and deep backward point.

Third umpire

An off-field umpire who makes the final decision when appeals or reviews are referred to him by the two on-field umpires; television replays are provided to assist him in making his decision.

Throw

The act, by a fielder, of either aiming the ball at a wicket to attempt a run out or of returning the ball to one of the wicket-keeper or bowler.

Throwing (illegal)

An arm action by the bowler which breaks the rules and is penalised as a no ball; essentially, it means the arm is straightened during the delivery as in a standard throwing action.[3]

Tie

The result in a first-class match when the scores are level and, unlike a draw, both teams have fully completed all their innings: i.e., specifically when the team batting last are all out. In a limited overs game, a tie is achieved if the scores are level on completion of both innings and no tie-breaker rules can be applied.

Timed out

An unusual means of dismissal given when the next batsman has not arrived at the wicket within two minutes of the previous one being dismissed.

Timeless match

Historically, a match for which no time limit was set with the intention of playing on until one side achieves victory.

Ton

Slang for century.[3]

Top edge

The ball touching the upper edge of the bat when it is moving horizontally through a shot like the square cut; often results in a catch by the wicket-keeper or a slip fielder.

Top spin

A spin delivery in which the spin is towards the wicket, causing the ball to increase its forward speed on pitching.

Toss

Before the match begins, the two captains meet on the pitch and decide who will bat or field first by tossing a coin. Traditionally, the home captain tosses the coin and the away captain calls "heads" or "tails". The winner of the toss makes a tactical decision about batting first or else "putting the other team in". Batting first is generally considered the safer option and there is perceived to be an element of risk in inviting the opposition to have first innings.

Track

Alternative name for the pitch.[3]

Trundler

Slang for a bowler who is not as fast as he might like to think he is and is simply incapable of doing anything productive (pace, seam, spin or swing) with the ball.[3]

Turn (batting)

The point at which a batsman completes one run and decides to go for another, depending on whether the fielders have recovered the ball yet.

Turn (bowling)

The effect on a spinning ball when conditions enable it to deviate sharply from a straight course after pitching; in such conditions, it is said that the pitch is turning (i.e., turning the ball); turn is enhanced if the bowler can pitch into any rough.

Twelfth man

A reserve player who is able to act as a substitute fielder when necessary (substitutes cannot bat or bowl).

Twenty20

Pronounced, but not written, twenty-twenty. A fast-paced, shortened form of the game introduced in England in 2003, in which each team plays an innings of a maximum twenty overs and the highest-scoring team wins.

Two-paced

Refers to the pitch when its surface is breaking up. This tends to happen after three or four days of a first-class match. Deliveries onto such a pitch are unpredictable as, in extreme, some may become lifters and others may become shooters, hence "two-paced".[3]

U

Umpire

Refer to fielding positions diagram and to Fielding.

The two umpires are responsible for on-field adjudication. One stands behind the wicket at the bowler's end of the pitch. His job is to ensure that the bowler does not overstep the creases and to rule on appeals, mostly for caught and leg before wicket. He uses hand and leg signals to the scorers to convey information about his decisions. These include a raised finger if the batsman is being given out, the award of extras or the value (four or six) of a boundary shot. His colleague stands at square leg so that he can observe the bowler's action and rule on appeals, mostly for run out and stumped.

Umpire Decision Review System (DRS)

A system which allows the fielding captain or the batsmen to request the third umpire to review the standing umpires' previous decision using technological aids, in the hope of having a dismissal awarded (in the case of the fielding captain) or overturned (in the case of the batsman).

Underarm bowling

For more information, see: Bowling (cricket).

The immemorial style of bowling which is as old as cricket itself. It evolved c.1760 when pitched deliveries were introduced and was then largely superseded by roundarm in the nineteenth century. It is now very rare and is in fact illegal unless prior arrangements have been made.

Unplayable delivery

Subjective view that a ball was impossible for the batsman to play, with all credit due to the bowler.

V

Village cricket

A generic term applied to local club cricket in which the playing standard is of minor quality; in practice, village cricket includes games involving local teams from towns and cities, not just villages; historically, matches at this level were sometimes referred to as parish matches.

W

Wagon-wheel

A graphical aid for TV viewers which depicts the number of runs scored by a batsman from shots into each sector of the field.[3]

Walk

Action of a batsman who is giving himself out. This is when a batsman believes that he has been dismissed and sportingly walks (i.e., back to the pavilion) despite the umpire signalling not out or before the umpire has signalled out. There have been stories, associated with hostile bowlers like Fred Trueman, about batsmen deciding to walk because they no longer wished to face his bowling!

Wicket

The term essentially refers to the arrangement of the stumps and bails for use as the bowler's target but is also used as a synonym for both the pitch (e.g., a sticky wicket) and a dismissal (e.g., the fall of a wicket).

Wicket-keeper

For more information, see: Fielding (cricket).
Refer to fielding positions diagram and to Fielding.

The sole specialist on the fielding side who always operates behind the wicket at the striker's end of the pitch.

Wicket-keeper/batsman

A variation on all rounder, this is a specialist wicket-keeper who is also worth his place in the team for his batting alone and may even be good enough to open the innings. Notable examples are Les Ames and Adam Gilchrist. Most wicket-keepers, like bowlers, are ordinary as batsmen and are classed as tail-enders.

Wicket maiden

A maiden over (no runs scored) in which the bowler dismisses a batsman (i.e., takes a wicket). It is called a double wicket maiden if he takes two wickets.

Wicket-to-wicket

Basically, an imaginary line drawn down the centre of the pitch between the middle stumps of both wickets and used colloquially to describe bowling which is straight with no movement off the line of delivery.

Wide

A penalty of one extra that is conceded by the bowler if he bowls so that the ball is out of the batsman's reach; in addition, the ball must be re-bowled.

Wisden

Shorthand term widely used in reference to Wisden Cricketers' Almanack.

Wrist spin bowling

For more information, see: Bowling (cricket).

Spin is imparted to the ball by a flick of the wrist instead of by using the fingers. A wrist spinner is perceived to be "unorthodox" and bowls either a leg break (right arm) or a slow left-arm chinaman (left arm).[3]

Wrong 'un

Go to Googly. This is a term sometimes used in Australia for the googly.

Y

Yorker

For more information, see: Bowling (cricket).

A fast, straight delivery which the bowler pitches on or close to the popping crease and therefore just in front of the batsman's toes. It is intended to pass under the bat on its downswing. If successful, the batsman is said to have been yorked. The yorker is pitched closer to the wicket than a half-volley but not as close as a full toss. The term's origin is uncertain and it is not necessarily connected with Yorkshire.

Z

Zooter (zoota)

Credited to Shane Warne and supposedly a variation of the leg-spin flipper which stays close to ground with little bounce; probably not an intentional delivery as reduction of the bounce is extremely difficult to manage.

References

  1. Law 13.3 – Completed Innings. MCC, The Laws of Cricket (2017).
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 Barclay's, page 693.
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 3.16 3.17 3.18 3.19 3.20 3.21 3.22 3.23 3.24 3.25 3.26 3.27 3.28 3.29 3.30 3.31 3.32 3.33 3.34 3.35 3.36 3.37 3.38 3.39 3.40 3.41 3.42 3.43 3.44 3.45 3.46 3.47 3.48 3.49 3.50 3.51 3.52 3.53 ESPN Glossary.
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 4.14 Barclay's, page 696.
  5. 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 5.11 5.12 5.13 5.14 5.15 5.16 5.17 Barclay's, page 694.
  6. Law 41 – Unfair Play. MCC, The Laws of Cricket (2017).
  7. 7.0 7.1 Law 21 – No ball. MCC, The Laws of Cricket (2017).
  8. 8.0 8.1 Law 7 – The Creases. MCC, The Laws of Cricket (2017).
  9. 9.00 9.01 9.02 9.03 9.04 9.05 9.06 9.07 9.08 9.09 9.10 9.11 9.12 Barclay's, page 695.
  10. Law 20 – Dead ball. MCC, The Laws of Cricket (2017).
  11. Law 15 – Declaration and forfeiture. MCC, The Laws of Cricket (2017).
  12. Chambers, page 432.
  13. How Big is a Cricket Field? Dimensions Info (2018).
  14. Oxford, page 528.
  15. Law 37 – Obstructing the field. MCC, The Laws of Cricket (2017).
  16. The history and significance of a hat-trick. The Roar (2010).
  17. Law 34 – Hit the ball twice. MCC, The Laws of Cricket (2017).
  18. Law 35 – Hit wicket. MCC, The Laws of Cricket (2017).
  19. 19.0 19.1 Barclay's, page 697.
  20. Indoor cricket. England and Wales Cricket Board (2018).
  21. Kwik Cricket. Lancashire Cricket (2018).
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 22.4 22.5 Barclay's, page 698.
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 23.3 23.4 23.5 Barclay's, page 699.
  24. Barclay's, page 700.

Bibliography

  • Chambers: The Chambers Dictionary, 10th Edition. Chambers Harrap (2006).
  • Marylebone Cricket Club: The Laws. MCC, The Laws of Cricket (2017).
  • Oxford University: Oxford English Dictionary, 11th Edition. Oxford University Press (2004).
  • Swanton, E. W. (editor): Barclays World of Cricket, 3rd edition. Willow Books (1986).
  • Williamson, Martin: A glossary of cricket terms. ESPN Sports Media Ltd (2018).